Product reviews, June 1975

A Breakthrough in DIY Car Painting

A PROBLEM facing those who are smartening-up or restoring the older cars has been that, if small areas of paintwork are retouched, it is sometimes all too easy to detect where such retouching has been done. But to respray entire panels for a proper matching effect calls for expensive spray-gun equipment, involving a power supply and considerable skill. The aerosol, so useful for touching-in very small areas of paintwork on newer cars, is unsuited to large areas.

To overcome this problem Lloyds Industries Ltd., of Handforth in Cheshire, have introduced Dupli-Color Panel Spray, known in the USA under another brand-name. Larger aerosol cans not being the answer, Lloyds supply aerosols with a new Danvern Fanspray that enables the operative to work closer, by some six inches, to the panel being treated, so that air currents in out-door painting have less effect and paint losses are reduced. Moreover, the valve is far kinder to the finger than normal spray valves and a simple adjustment enables a horizontal or vertical action to be used. These 14-oz. cans cost £1.25 plus VAT and are sufficient for about 15 sq. ft.

Another breakthrough is that these DupliColor Panel Spray cans come in 52 shades, plus primers and undercoats, which means that they can be chosen to match about 235 different car manufacturers’ colours. This is a clever advance, obtained by using computers to define Dupli-Color paints of one colour that are so nearly the same as maker’s colours that the human eye will not be able to distinguish any difference between an original panel and an adjacent one resprayed with that shade of Dupli-Color, especially remembering the effects age, lighting changes, and polishing have on an original finish.

To enable consumers to find the correct colour for matching an original car maker’s colour, Lloyds have produced a book which I find quite fascinating—it will even appeal to historians who have no intention of doing any painting. It consists of colour-cards covering all 52 Dupli-Color shades, with details of car makers’ colours against which each one is near enough a perfect match. For instance, Lloyds’ Beige No. 1 matches Citroen’s Nankin Beige, Chrysler’s Safari Beige, Ford’s Beige of 1968-72, Fiat’s San Tan, and VW’s Panama finish of 1964-65, and, again selecting at random, their Grey No. 3 equals BLMC Saxon, or Carlton, Chrysler and Rover Charcoal, Citroen Midnight, Fiat Steel and Mercedes Anthracite and Graphite, of various different years. This remarkable book, if you can prize one from a paint dealer, also gives details of the names used by the leading car manufacturers, over the last ten years or more, for their paint finishes. It has a table of paint equivalents for cars ranging from Austin-Morris to Volvo (including Lotus, NSU, Simca, etc.), a chart showing where on a car to find such maker’s colour-code plates (nothing is standardised in the Motor Industry!), spraying instructions, etc. This helpful set-up should be of great benefit to those about to respray their own cars. By the way, the Panel Spray aerosols do not replace the well-established 4-oz. Brush-on or 6-oz. Autospray Dupli-Color range, which are intended for limited-area retouching.

I became so interested in Lloyds Industries’ paint products that I spent a morning with their Managing Director, Jim Pert, looking round their factory at Winsford, in Cheshire. I discovered that this factory was built in 1972 and makes every kind of paint and industrial aerosol, the latter under the DCMC label. Paints for cars, motorcycles, boats, radios, office equipment, etc., are put into touch-up aerosols, production running at over 10-million units a year, with an expected 20% annual growth. The Winsford investment exceeds £800,000, and Dupli-Color also have factories in Chicago, Toronto, Germany and Australia. Dupli-Color is sold in more than 70 countries and at Winsford over 3,000 car colour formulae are held and out-of-stock items can be produced within 24 hours. Paint aerosols are supplied direct to the Motor Industry (BLMC, Ford, Unipart, etc., etc.) as well as to DIY dealers.

At Winsford they understand paint. By prior arrangment with the Motor Industry they get wind of the colours intended for secret new cars sometimes years ahead of intended production and their range of current paints covers popular cars up to ten or more years old. They fill and label-print the aerosols, but the cans and basic paints come from other sources, paint from Bergers, for instance, cans from Metal Box and Crown Cork. The paint blending is a highly skilled accomplishment, under the care of David Weller, for although computers have done the initial sorting of colour-matches, the product can vary if quality is not maintained and is affected even by the Arcton gas which pressurises the cans. Mr. Weller, working in a fine new £200,000 paint shop, aided by an assistant, checks visually paint samples at 45 deg., and horizontal settings and in natural or sodium lighting. Incidentally, as one allergic to the smell of paint, I was gratified by the clean-air conditions prevailing throughout the Lloyd factory premises.

At the time of my visit new machinery had been installed 24 hours earlier for painting the caps of the cans, whereby the customer can recognise immediately the colour of the contents. Sprayed from a Binks-Bellows No-Pump air gun while automaton rotated, this £20,000 machine can paint 60,000 caps a day. The can labels are screen printed, and as retouching aerosols are supplied to car manufacturers, as well as to Lloyds’ own dealers, more than 3,000 screens are involved. Girl operatives assemble with much skill these cans, in the sequence: ball-valve, gas, and retaining button, after which the aerosols are painted and capped. Most car colour-runs are small, lasting about 20 minutes, but with five production lines available the output is around 55,000 cans a day, calling for a formidable number of colour changes. Yet runs as low as 2,500 units can be undertaken economically. Air-operated control of paint supply lines in the mixing-shop not only reduces the risk of fire but ensures that power cuts do not stop production.

The ingenious aspect is how Lloyds have matched their Dupli-Color to car makers’ specifications and, although they do not seek such insignificant orders, if anyone happened to turn up an original paint specification (old colour cards would undoubtedly have faded) for, say, Napier green, Bugatti blue, or ERA green, I am convinced that Lloyds could match it—at a price!

So DIY car painting and retouching, especially of the older models, seems to have been greatly simplified. To a quality that I imagine obviates such painting pitfalls as bleeding, alligatoring, blistering, blowing-off, blushing, bubbling, bronzing, chalking, caking, chipping, clouding, cracking, crawling, crinkling, crumbling, crow-footing, crystallising, curdling, deadening, dulling, fading, flatting, gelling, glazing, gumming, hiding, knitting, lapping, lifting, livering, mottling, pebbling, peeling, pimpling, pin-holing, pitting, powdering, puckering, rain-spotting, raising, shadowing, settling, skidding, splitting, staining, streaking, wrinkling, or any of the other well-known maladies that can beset those who use paint.—W.B.


SUNGLASSES which react automatically to changes of light are not new, but the British firm of Chance-Pilkington have just developed a new and better photochromic glass called Reactolite OPC 2 which does the job more effectively, having a 90% to 20% range of reaction to daylight (not just to ultra-violet). On this scale 100% represents clear glass, so OPC 2 is within 10% of clear in poor light and darkens right down to within 20% of opacity in very bright light.

Stirling Moss, in conjunction with spectacle designer Linda Farrow, is now marketing sunglasses using this unique material, which is specially toughened to withstand the knocks and abrasions of everyday motoring (or skiing, etc.).

They are well made, light and practical, and, although the price of £9.50 (incl. VAT) is high for sunglasses, they are cheaper than most other photochromic glasses. The special glass is also available ground to wearers’ prescription, by specifying Reactolite OPC 2 to an optician.—L.A.M.